View­ers see jus­tice done

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE BOX -

Judg­ing oth­ers is a favourite pas­time for many. For a se­lect few, it’s a ca­reer.

For the first time, cam­eras have been al­lowed in Aus­tralia’s busiest court­rooms to cap­ture our judges and mag­is­trates at work.

Court Jus­tice: Syd­ney ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Michael Cordell (CJZ Pro­duc­tions) har­boured the con­cept for years be­fore mak­ing it a re­al­ity.

“It’s not a PR job, but I think peo­ple will have a much more pro­found re­spect for mag­is­trates once they see the se­ries,” Cordell (above) tells Switched On.

“They are of­ten crit­i­cised for be­ing out of touch. I think this gives a sense of what they do, how complicated and con­sid­ered the whole sen­tenc­ing process is. There’s that no­tion that for jus­tice to be done, it needs to be seen to be done.

“The courts have largely been a closed world. Bit by bit they’re open­ing up, and I think that’s a great thing.”

Over six weeks, Cordell’s crew filmed cases at Syd­ney’s Down­ing Cen­tre, led by Chief Mag­is­trate Graeme Henson, where they hear 30,000 cases each year.

And it was hard work get­ting peo­ple to agree to be filmed.

“Hav­ing made a lot of dif­fi­cult ac­cess docos over the years I’m eter­nally sur­prised how many peo­ple will agree to tell their sto­ries. Maybe five or 10 per cent of peo­ple agree to have their cases filmed.

“The sto­ries that fas­ci­nate me are the ones where you form a strong pre­con­cep­tion about some­one’s guilt and then have that com­pletely turned on its head,” Cordell says.


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